320/11–652: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Department of State


Delga 134. Dept will have noted that during last few days various dels have produced draft resolutions on Korea embodying number of ideas designed to facilitate attainment of Korean armistice.

Besides 21 power draft,1 resolutions already introduced include:

USSR res2 for estab of a commission for immediate settlement Korean question;
Mexican draft3 providing for temporary resettlement of POWs unwilling return home pending a polit settlement of Korean question; and
Peruvian res4 establishing commission to work out measures for disposition of prisoners not wishing to be repatriated.

Other proposals not yet formally introduced include:

Indonesian draft5 envisaging a commission to negotiate immediate settlement of Korean problem and a committee which would supervise for an indefinite period prisoners unwilling to be repatriated;
An Iraqi draft6 calling for transfer to a neutral country of POWs unwilling to return, and for establishment of a commission for unification and rehabilitation of Korea and for the disposal of POWs unwilling to be repatriated;
An Indian suggestion7 for a good offices commission of GA presidents to facilitate a post-armistice polit conference and a commission to assume responsibility for screening and disposal of POWs; and
A Cuban suggestion that the repatriation issue be referred to the ICJ.8

Above proposals in general reflect GA feeling that prisoners shld not be repatriated by force, and view, very widely held, that GA shld estab commissions to facilitate task of settling POW issue and to encourage political settlement of Korean question.

We believe that while additional suggestions may be made, they are likely to consist of new combinations of permutations of provisions included in proposals mentioned above.

Time is now arriving when US shld indicate to other dels what must be included in any acceptable GA res on Korea and what must not be included. Such an indication wld supply an element of cohesion which will be needed in next few days. At the moment, tactical situation is not firm, even among our friends. Brit and Canadians appear to be giving some encouragement to ideas put forward for India by Krishna Menon; there is incipient conflict between Menon’s ideas and those being pushed by Palar (Indonesia). Asian-African group has not so far as we know been able to achieve any degree of unity on subject; and Latin Americans tend to look to US for firm leadership.

We have, therefore, drafted list of points included in separate tel (Delga 133)9 which in our view constitute basic elements in our approach to problem of firming up res on Korea. If Dept approves of these points, we wld use them in exerting our leadership so as to produce a draft or drafts behind which support of great possible number of friendly dels might be mobilized. We think it highly important that we be able to speak from some such document as soon as possible. Need for urgency will be appreciated by Dept. Nov 7, 10:30 a.m. Gross is attending mtg10 with Pearson, Lloyd and Krishna Menon, called at Lloyd’s initiative.

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We draw Dept’s special attention to two matters covered in list of points. First, we assume Dept will appreciate need for agreeing to some type of committee or commission which wld assist in execution of armistice provisions re POWs. While no one outside Soviet bloc has challenged our basic premise that prisoners must not be returned by force, we have noted gen desire to make sure that POWs are not in any way forcibly detained by UNC and that some process be developed for ensuring their right to make a free choice and their disposition on a humanitarian basis thereafter. Sentiment for POW commission comes from so many sources that we consider it virtually impossible to oppose at this time.

Second, we draw attention to point dealing with GA action to approve the holding of a post-armistice conference and facilitate its convocation. We have included this idea because Soviet draft res has struck responsive chord among many dels which feel deeply that GA has a duty to take all possible action which might bring about peaceful settlement of Korean question. In our opinion, this sentiment which is widely shared, can best be handled not by outright opposition, but by channeling it along lines which the Communists themselves originally proposed at Panmunjom and to which both sides in Korea have agreed.

We have also had in mind our own position regarding GA role in arranging for a conference after an armistice. If formulation in list of points is not satisfactory to Dept, we hope Dept will suggest some modification with which we are able to negotiate effectively in light of tactical situation here.

  1. For the text, see UN document A/C. 1/725.
  2. For the text, see UN document A/C. 1/729.
  3. For the text, see UN document A/C. 1/730.
  4. For the text, see UN document A/C. 1/732.
  5. A text of the Indonesian draft resolution informally provided the U.S. Delegation can be found in Delga 115, Nov. 3, 1952, not printed (320/11–352).
  6. A text of the Iraqi draft resolution can be found in Delga 130, Nov. 5, 1952, not printed (320/11–552).
  7. For information on the Indian suggestion, see memorandum of conversation by Acheson, Oct. 29, p. 568.
  8. The Cuban suggestion was reported in a memorandum of conversation by Milton K. Wells of the U.S. Delegation to the General Assembly, Nov. 3, 1952, not printed (UNP files, lot 60 D 268).
  9. Supra .
  10. At the insistence of Gross, the meeting was postponed until Friday afternoon, Nov. 7, 1952 (Delga 144, infra ). For a report of the meeting, see Delga 150, Nov. 8, p. 586, and Pearson, Memoirs, vol. 2, p. 321.